While the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) reports the risk of Ebola in Minnesota continues to remain low, media reports from Dallas may be causing additional concern.
Fairview is committed to the safety of staff, patients and visitors and has created an Ebola preparedness plan with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and MDH.
What is it?
Ebola virus is spread by direct contact with a sick person’s blood or body fluids or by contact with contaminated objects or infected animals.
Symptoms may include sudden onset of fever and malaise, achiness, headache, vomiting or diarrhea.
You can learn more about Ebola from the Minnesota Department of Health’s website.
Any patient with a possible infectious disease will be asked about his or her travel history, and special screening tools and precautions may be used.
Guidance for travelers
Many Minnesota residents may travel to or have relatives visit from West Africa.
Although the incubation period for Ebola can be as long as 21 days, neither the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) nor the MDH recommend that people refrain from going back to work after travel to these countries.
However, pay attention to your own health after returning from West Africa and follow these guidelines from the CDC:
- Monitor your health for 21 days if you were in an area with an Ebola outbreak but were not in contact with blood or body fluids, items that have come in contact with blood or body fluids, animals or raw meat, or hospitals where Ebola patients are being treated.
- Seek medical care immediately if you develop fever, headache, achiness, sore throat, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, rash or red eyes.
- Call ahead and tell your doctor about your recent travel and your symptoms before you visit a clinic or emergency department. Advance notice will help your doctor care for you and protect other people at the clinic or emergency department.
Is it the flu?
Keep in mind, many of the symptoms of Ebola are similar to those of influenza. As we enter another flu season, it’s far more likely that symptoms will be flu-related and not Ebola, unless you have come in direct contact with an Ebola patient.
It’s not too late to get your flu vaccine. Fairview offers vaccinations at Fairview Clinics, Fairview Express Care and select Fairview Pharmacies.